I don’t really collect those tiny hotel soaps.
But they follow me home now and then, so chances are I’ll have a selection of miniature bars on hand after a long trip.
When my niece and nephews visit on the weekends, I let them pick their own little soaps to use at bath time. Then, when they are lathering in the tub, I tell them stories about the places I’ve been.
It’s fun to bubble up with soap from all over the world!
Or, perhaps it just seems fun to me. After all, when the kids are in the tub they’re my captive audience.
Recently, my youngest nephew, Graham, chose a fragrant little purple soap from the Park Tower hotel in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The bar was molded in the shape of a small bunch of grapes. (I think it was supposed to smell like wine, but Graham said that it just smelled like “purple.”)
While Graham scrubbed, I told him about the vineyards in the province of Mendoza where Malbec grapes grow. I explained that people in Argentina like to drink red Malbec wine when they eat steak. And they eat a lot of steak because there are a lot of cows in Argentina. And a lot of cows means a lot of Argentinian cowboys, who are called “gauchos.” (No, Graham, gauchos are not grouchy. But that’s a good question.)
I told him that the gauchos and the cows live on Argentinian grasslands called the Pampas. “Pampas like the diapers?” he asked.
Time to change gears.
I moved from the Pampas to the borderlands where the mighty Iguazu River divides Argentina and Brazil. This is where I saw Iguazu Falls, the most amazing collection of waterfalls in the whole world. I described how the falls are so noisy that you can barely hear yourself talk if you’re nearby. I told him that you can get completely wet just from the splashy mist on the cliffs near the river.
The Iguazu Falls were more interesting to Graham than the gauchos on the Pampas, so we built our own falls in the bathtub. He gave his plastic dinosaur toys a good scrubbing with the purple scented soap, then he rinsed them clean by dunking them under a waterfall poured from a plastic cup. We made a huge mess. I figured that he might not be paying attention to my travel stories, but we were having a great time.
After his bath, Graham dried himself off and rescued each of the clean dinosaurs from the soapy tub. As he lined up the dinosaurs along the tub edge, he picked one up and gave it a sniff. “This dinosaur smells like Argentina” he said.
So he was listening after all.